In the wake of last week’s launch of the Wii U, Nintendo has announced a redesigned version of its predecessor. After several rumors of a "Wii Mini" leaked online, the company has now confirmed that a more compact Wii will be launching this year. Set to hit store shelves in Canada in time for the holidays, the Wii Mini boasts a smaller size, lower price, and sturdier design, but also sees a couple of Wii features omitted.
Aside from the reduced size, the Wii Mini sports a matte black and red case and comes packaged with a matching red Wii MotionPlus controller and Nunchuk. The new system will also be compatible with any previous Wii accessories, like other Wii-motes, the WiiFit Balance Board, or the Classic Controller. The redesign features a manual top-loading disc tray, as opposed to the automatic disc slot on the original model, which means the console cannot be placed on its side.
Unfortunately, the more portable size also means a few features from the Wii will not be making their way to the Wii Mini. While Nintendo promises all 1,400+ titles for the Wii will be playable on the new system, the disc tray will no longer read Gamecube games and, more importantly, all internet connectivity has been removed. Without an online connection, users won't be able to play games online, download titles from the Wii Shop, or stream video through Netflix and Hulu, among many other functions.
To be fair, the Wii was never known for its online features and Gamecube titles are mostly confined to used game shops these days, but dropping these features still essentially reduces the smaller console to a bare bones Wii disc reader.
Nintendo is launching the Wii Mini exclusively in Canada on December 7 and has stated it has no information on if it will be released in other countries in the future. Some retailers, like Best Buy, are already taking pre-orders, with a price set at US$99.99.